Legal Guide

How Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Vehicles Bought Outside the State?

The Lemon Law in California was created with the purpose of protecting the rights and the investments of US consumers so that manufacturers and sellers could not get away with selling faulty or inferior products to them. Today, however, the law is most often used by solicitors to get replacement vehicles or total refunds for their clients from the manufacturer or the dealer, in case they could not repair a constantly malfunctioning car even after a reasonable number of attempts to do so. However, does the California lemon law protect owners of vehicles that were bought outside the state? The answer is more complex than you might think.

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Not Really!

A lot of Californian citizens drive vehicles that they bought from outside the state and unfortunately for them, the state lemon law specifically mentions that any automobile purchased from outside the state does not qualify. In other words, under normal circumstances, the California lemon law will not protect the owner of a vehicle even if he/she is a state citizen but had bought the car in some other state.

Don’t Give Up Hope Yet

In spite of the state’s lemon law not covering any vehicle bought outside it, The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act will protect your interests as a federal citizen of the United States of America, if you were sold a faulty car that the company or the dealer was unable to repair successfully after multiple attempts. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is also known as the “federal lemon law” for obvious reasons. In fact, this federal act protects all US citizens who bought any consumer goods under a warranty. Notably, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is also responsible for setting the minimum standards that any consumer goods, including vehicles, must carry with them in all the US states. While it is true that the California lemon law would provide more effective coverage within the state, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act can be really helpful in situations where the law is inapplicable due to the vehicle being bought outside California.

Out-of-State Automobiles May Still Qualify for the California Lemon Law

In spite of all out-of-state purchases being exempt from the California lemon law, there is a way by which your lemon law lawyer can help get your case qualified under the Act. In general, the location of the dealership is deemed to be the place of transaction and therefore, if that location is not within the state jurisdiction of California, the vehicle will not qualify. However, if the car was delivered by the dealer or the manufacturer to the buyer’s location in California, the case might become eligible under the state lemon law, in spite of the dealer being located outside the state. This one is, of course, much more difficult to ascertain and it might be up for a more complex debate, but that’s exactly what legal advisors are for; to guide you in regard to whether you should go with the California lemon law or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

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